Forget all of Hollywood’s talk about 3-D being a “game changer”. Science just roundhouse kicked them in the face and said, “Hoe sit down.” The phrase “life as we know it” now has an asterisk added to it, because a team of Danish and Italian researchers have discovered three new multicellular life forms that don’t use oxygen. It was previously thought only viruses, bacteria, and Archaea could live without oxygen.
Most significantly, the new species do not have mitochondria, the cellular organelles that use oxygen and sugar to generate the cell’s energy. Instead, the new loriciferans have organelles that resemble hydrogenosomes, which are used by some single-celled eukaryotes to generate energy without oxygen. However, this is the first time that these organelles have been observed in multicellular organisms. [Physorg]
This has massive implications for the possibility of life on planets that lack oxygen. It also means multicellular life may have existed on Earth before the “oxygen catastrophe” some 2.3 billions years ago. Ah, yes.
I remember the day well. It was a Tuesday. Partly sunny. A slight breeze comin’ from the north. Then that catastrophe knocked me right out my rocking chair and pert near made me soil my britches, which had an onion on the belt, as was the style at the time.